Five Star Royalty Partners, Ltd. v. Mauldin: More Guidance on Deed Interpretation

By: Shawna R. Rinehart In Five Star Royalty Partners Ltd v. Jack Mauldin Jr., et al., the court was tasked with interpreting a 1927 deed (the “Deed”) to determine whether the grantee received a mineral interest or a royalty interest in over 5,000 acres in West Texas.  In doing so, the court… Read more

Trump Administration Rescinds Methane Rules

By: Timothy L. Thorne The Trump administration recently finalized a pair of regulations aimed at rolling back the Obama administration's 2016 New Source Performance Standards, which control methane emissions from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry. Under the rules affected, the… Read more

Royalties and a ‘Proceeds-Plus’ Provision

By: Caroline K. Featherstone  In the recent case of Devon v. Sheppard, the Texas Court of Appeals addressed a highly unique royalty provision. The lease at issue provided that the royalty could be calculated based on a percentage of Devon and BP's gross proceeds from the sale of minerals produced… Read more

U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Gets Green Light

By: Hayley S. Murray  In a recent Supreme Court decision, United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, the Court was faced with the interaction of several federal laws governing certain agencies’ authority to grant use of public lands. In 2017, Atlantic Coast… Read more

Federal Court Rules Sunoco Owes $150 Million for Late Royalty Payments

By: Shawna R. Rinehart The court in Cline, et al. v. Sunoco, Inc. (R&M), et al. recently ruled that Sunoco, Inc. owes $150 million to the class action plaintiffs, consisting of more than 50,000 Oklahoma royalty owners, for purposely failing to pay interest on 1,596,945 late royalty payments… Read more

Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline: A Win for Landowners

By Megan R. Knell      Landowners achieved another victory in the recent case of Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership, LLC, in which the court revisited the pipeline company’s “common carrier” status based on the reasonable probability test established in Texas Rice and also the valuation of the… Read more

Take It or Leave It: Gathering Agreements in a Post-Sabine World

By Megan R. Knell and William G. Bredthauer Gathering agreements have long been a staple in the oil and gas industry.  And, for decades, these agreements and the dedication provisions within them were construed as covenants running with the land.  As a result, the ruling in Sabine Oil & Gas… Read more

Back to Basics (Banker’s Edition): Forbearance Agreements

April 24, 2020 By Paul D. Bradford and Merrill E. Jones Because defaults, bankruptcies, or other distress may occur in the current oil and gas price environment, we wanted to discuss Forbearance Agreements. Forbearance Agreement: A Forbearance Agreement is a written agreement by Bank to refrain… Read more

Back to Basics (Banker’s Edition): Perfection of Oil and Gas Collateral

April 17, 2020 By Paul D. Bradford and Merrill E. Jones Because defaults, bankruptcies, or other distress may occur in the current oil and gas price environment, we wanted to highlight some key concepts related to perfection. Perfection of Liens and Security Interests in Oil and Gas Collateral… Read more

Back to Basics (Banker’s Edition): Cash and Production Proceeds

April 14, 2020 By Paul D. Bradford and Merrill E. Jones Because Borrowing Base deficiencies or other distress are likely in the current oil and gas price environment, we wanted to highlight some key concepts related to cash and production proceeds. Cash is King: Typically, the Bank’s term sheet… Read more

Back to Basics (Banker’s Edition): Mortgage and Title Coverage

April 9, 2020 By Paul D. Bradford and Merrill E. Jones Because the upcoming Borrowing Base season promises to be memorable, we wanted to highlight some key concepts related to mortgage and title coverage and Borrowing Base deficiencies. Required Mortgage and Title Coverage: Typically, a Loan… Read more

Protecting Royalty Interests in Bankruptcy

By Megan R. Knell and William G. Bredthauer In March of 2020, demand for oil began to steadily decline due to stay-at-home orders and self-quarantine measures that were implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The significant decrease in demand led to an excessive supply of oil that… Read more

Implied Covenant to Market: Additional Considerations for Producers

By Hayley S. Murray and Megan R. Knell A shut-in clause (or shut-in royalty clause) typically allows for shut-in royalty payments as a substitute for actual production.  However, payment of shut-in royalties does not necessarily relieve a producer of its duties under the implied covenant to manage… Read more

Production in Paying Quantities

By Bryan J. May and Mark C. Matula  We have previously discussed shut-in, force majeure, continuous drilling, cessation of production, and commencement of operations lease provisions, which are known as lease savings clauses.  This brief note discusses production in paying quantities, which is… Read more

Back to Basics: Shut-In

By Paul B. Westbrook and Shawna R. Rinehart A shut-in clause (or shut-in royalty clause) traditionally allows the lessee to maintain the lease by making shut-in payments on a well capable of producing oil or gas in paying quantities where the oil or gas cannot be marketed, whether due to a lack of… Read more

Back to Basics: Force Majeure

By Paul B. Westbrook and Shawna R. Rinehart Force Majeure Clause: A force majeure clause is a lease provision designed to protect a lessee against termination of the lease resulting from governmental actions, acts of God, and other circumstances beyond the lessee’s control. Force majeure clauses… Read more

Back to Basics: Continuous Drilling

By Paul B. Westbrook and Shawna R. Rinehart Continuous drilling clauses are very similar to, and often intertwined with, some of the savings clauses often included in leases (especially a commencement of operations clause and a cessation of production clause). One difference from a commencement of… Read more

Back to Basics: Cessation of Production

By Paul B. Westbrook and Shawna R. Rinehart Cessation of Production: A cessation of production savings clause is primarily intended to prevent termination of the lease immediately upon the cessation of production, whether during the primary term, secondary term, or both. Certainly, the most… Read more